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The World in Medicine
November 11, 1998

Genetics and HIV Dementia

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JAMA. 1998;280(18):1559. doi:10.1001/jama.280.18.1559-JWM80008-2-1

A genetic characteristic associated with the development of Alzheimer disease has been implicated in HIV-related dementia and peripheral neuropathy.

Researchers from Denmark, Sweden, and the United States tested blood samples from 44 HIV-infected men for the ϵ4 allele for apolipoprotein E, which was linked several years ago with Alzheimer disease. They found that 11 men had the ϵ4 allele and 33 did not. Although most of the men did not have AIDS or AIDS-related symptoms when the study began, about one fourth did have very mild or suspected dementia. Mild peripheral neuropathy was diagnosed in two of the men with the ϵ4 allele, compared with only one among the larger, ϵ4-negative group.

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